S218. In the Box: On the Dangerous Joy of Writing Outside Your Ethnicity, Gender, Orientation, Age, Etc.

Room 501, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level
Saturday, April 2, 2016
1:30 pm to 2:45 pm


As fiction writers, we often feel pressure to write inside the confines of our own experience, as defined by our ethnic identity, gender, sexual orientation, economic class, and so on. This panel explores the edges and interstices of that pressure. In what contexts is it acceptable to write outside such confines? In what contexts is it not? What does "diversity" mean when creating a fictional world? As writers, who has cultural permission to press past the confines of one's own identity?



Christian Kiefer is author of the novels The Infinite Tides and The Animals. He holds a PhD in American literature from University of California, Davis, and is a published poet and songwriter.

Luis Alberto Urrea is the author of sixteen books, including Pulitzer Prize-finalist The Devil's Highway. A member of the Latino Literary Hall of Fame, he has also won an Edgar, American Book Award, Lannan Literary Prize, and Pacific Rim Prize. He is a professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

Jodi Angel’s collection of short stories, You Only Get Letters from Jail, was named a Best Book of 2013 by Esquire. Her work has appeared in Esquire, Tin House, One Story, Zoetrope: All Story, Electric Literature: Recommended Reading, The Offing, and Best American Mystery Stories 2014.

Bich Minh Nguyen (who goes by Beth) is the author of the memoir Stealing Buddha’s Dinner, which received the PEN/Jerard Award, the novel Short Girls, which received an American Book Award, and the novel Pioneer Girl. She directs the MFA in writing program at the University of San Francisco.

Skip Horack is the author of the story collection The Southern Cross, as well as the novels The Eden Hunter and The Other Joseph. He teaches at Florida State.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center